Regina Wheeler, director of public works for Santa Fe, said the city is making progress in converting more than 5,500 street lights to energy-efficient LED lamps to help contain energy bills.
According to a presentation to the municipal utility committee on Monday, 478 luminaires have been rebuilt since October 18, when the project began in earnest. In the first phase of the project, the crews change lightbulbs in southwest Santa Fe, an area with 1,650 lights.
Wheeler said the city should begin realizing cost savings on the $ 2.75 million project in December when the first debt payment is due.
A city memo states that the designs should reduce energy consumption by more than 60 percent and the overall lighting budget by over 50 percent. The energy savings will fund the project, the memo says.
“It was always planned that way,” said Wheeler. “I think we are on the right track.”
According to santafeled.com, an urban website created to track the project, the next part of town to tackle is downtown before the crews move to the southeastern part of town. The northwest side will be the last segment to be converted.
Each segment will take around two weeks to 1½ months, according to the website.
The conversion will be carried out by Dalkia Energy Solutions, which was selected by the city in February to complete the conversion. The project was put on hold for three months while the city ran a community engagement campaign to gather more input. The renovation had been criticized by people who feared that the new lightbulbs would cause too much light pollution and threaten the city’s night sky.
In May, a design with 3,000 Kelvin lights for residential streets and 4,000 Kelvin lights for large city streets and main roads as well as dimming and shielding technology was completed.
The project is part of a $ 17.2 million initiative to install energy efficient modernizations in urban government buildings to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. The city is also planning to install solar panels and replace indoor lighting in city buildings with LEDs.